So today was a crazy day of running around travelling and getting ready for another day of work. So of course, sushi was required. Spencer and I met up with a good friend of ours, Lanning, who is another one of my regular sushi buddies, and is very knowledgeable about all things sushi and Japan. He’d just moved to Vancouver, so we took him to one of our usual places, Shabusen. I’ve never actually had anything but all you can eat there, and it’s always been pretty good, predictable at the very least.
Anyway, to delve further into exactly what we had… I didn’t try everything, but did make a point to try most of the things we ordered, even the things I’m not crazy about. First up, as usual, was the sunomono salad. It’s not bad, a little sweet and a little lemony, but I usually still order at least two for myself.
Spencer also loves goma-ae, which I’m not fond of. I’m not crazy about peanuts (maybe why I prefer Japanese food over Thai unlike the rest of my family), so this seems a very bizzare dish to me. Never the less, Spencer seems to like it and ordered two servings for himself.
Another on our list of must haves here is edamame. Not something we usually order because it seems silly to pay so much for something you can get dirt cheap at any grocery store, when it’s all you can eat, we go wild. It’s pretty hard to mess these up, and here they were just as good as I’ve ever had. Edamame is one of the things that I love about Japanese food, I love food that’s fun to eat, and I don’t think it gets any more fun than popping beans (weird, I know, but if you know me, you know that I’m weird).
One of the main reasons we go to Shabusen (for dinner anyway, it’s not available at lunch) is the Korean BBQ. First up we ordered some chicken and beef. Spencer is our official cook, seeing as he likes to play with fire and such. The meat is good, I’m not crazy about the charred bits, but it’s tasty! The only thing that weirds me out is that they bring the raw chicken and beef on the same plate, seems iffy to me? We also had the spicy pork, which was way too spicy for my taste, and short ribs, which I didn’t try.
Also on our order, prawn tempura rolls! These were pretty good, middle of the road rolls. If we’d been paying for them individually I would have complained that they were too thinly cut (four rolls was basically two rolls cut in half), but as it was all you can eat, not a big deal.
Nigiri time! Both the salmon and tuna were good, not too fishy, though the salmon was a little on the bland side. The pieces were a good size, with just the right amount of wasabi. Really, I could have just eaten these all night and been happy.
The tempura was really good, I loved the yam (white for a change from the usual orange stuff), and the zucchini and potato were pretty decent too. My only complaint here is that we didn’t order more, and there isn’t a huge selection available (I really like onion, and it’s not on the menu).
We also ordered Gyoza, always a favorite. We basically tried every option on the menu, regular, spicy (really just regular served with spicy sauce) and deep fried. The regular ones where pretty run of the mill, tasty enough, but nothing hand made or special. The deep fried ones had a lovely crunch to them, and soaked up the sauce a little better. I just wish they were served with more sauce, I love gyoza sauce.
Overall, I do like Shabusen. The service is good, the atmosphere is right, and at about $20 per person, the all you can eat is one of, if not the, cheapest ways for us to fill up on all our favorite foods.